When predicting whether a player will one day be in the Hall of Fame, there are two types of future Hall of Famers:
There are the Dale Murphy Hall of Famers, which are the guys who, if their career continues it's current trajectory, they will be in the Hall of Fame. This category is so named in honor of Murphy, who was headed for the Hall of Fame as late as 1987, before his career fell off a cliff in 1988 and ended before he could put the topper on his Hall of Fame resume.
Then there are the Sandy Koufax guys, guys who if they never played another game would be in the Hall of Fame, so-named in honor of Koufax, who retired out of the blue at the height of his career and was voted into the Hall.
On the one hand, Derek Jeter, Jim Thome and Mariano Rivera have all reached the Sandy Koufax point.
On the other hand, Miguel Cabrera has officially entered the Dale Murphy part of his career. If he can just finish out the normal trajectory of his career, he will be in the Hall of Fame.
Magglio Ordonez deserves a mention here, but he is not bound for the Hall of Fame any more than Frank Howard or Tony Oliva are.
Johnny Damon is an interesting player, because between you and me, he ain't a Hall of Fame-caliber player. But at the same time, he's won two World Series with two different teams, he's a 21st century baseball icon and, best of all, he's 429 hits from 3,000 at the age of 36.
You gonna keep Damon out of the Hall of Fame if he gets to 3,000 hits? Consider also that by the time he reaches 3,000 hits, he'll probably also have about 1,800 runs scored, and he becomes difficult to deny.
If Justin Verlander wins 17 games in 2011, he'll have 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts at the age of 28. Just sayin'.